Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Clear And Brilliant Or Chemical Peel

It’s a tough decision when it comes to choosing between chemical peels and laser treatments. Both can improve the appearance of your skin, but each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Chemical peels use a chemical solution to remove damaged skin tissue. The solution is applied to your skin, then removed after a certain amount of time. This process causes new, healthy skin cells to grow in the areas that were treated. In this article we’ll discuss chemical peel vs laser for wrinkles and chemical peel vs laser cost.

Clear And Brilliant Or Chemical Peel

Laser treatments use light energy to remove damaged skin tissue. The light energy is focused on one area of the skin at a time, causing the dead cells to be destroyed and new ones to grow in their place.

When compared to chemical peels, laser treatments are more manageable and precise. Using a laser to treat a single acne scar or a small number of spots is much more convenient. When it comes to remodeling deep layers of collagen, the laser is superior. Lasers are a more effective treatment for wrinkles and sagging skin than other methods.

What Is a Laser Treatment?

A laser peel, also known as laser resurfacing, is a popular cosmetic treatment that uses lasers to improve the appearance of the skin. This procedure is commonly used to address a variety of skin concerns, including deep wrinkles, acne scars, sun-damaged skin, and uneven skin tone. The laser peel works by removing the outer layers of the skin, known as the epidermis, and heating the underlying layer, the dermis. This process stimulates the production of collagen, which helps to improve the texture and firmness of the skin.

During a laser peel treatment, a dermatologist or trained medical professional will use a laser device to target specific areas of the skin. The laser emits pulses of light that are absorbed by the skin, causing the targeted areas to heat up. This heat stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, which are essential proteins for healthy skin. As the outer layers of the skin are removed, new, healthier skin cells are revealed, resulting in a smoother and more youthful appearance.

There are several different types of laser peels available, each with its own benefits and considerations. Some of the most common types of laser peels include:

– Ablative laser resurfacing: This type of laser peel removes the outer layers of the skin and heats the underlying layers. It is often used to treat deep wrinkles, acne scars, and sun-damaged skin.
– Non-ablative laser resurfacing: This type of laser peel targets the underlying layers of the skin without removing the outer layers. It is less invasive than ablative laser resurfacing and is often used to improve skin tone and texture.
– Fractional laser resurfacing: This type of laser peel targets small areas of the skin, leaving surrounding areas untouched. It is a popular option for treating fine lines, acne scars, and uneven skin tone.

Before undergoing a laser peel treatment, it is important to consult with a dermatologist or medical professional to determine the best type of laser peel for your skin concerns. The treatment may cause some redness, swelling, and peeling of the skin, but these side effects are typically temporary and can be managed with proper skincare.

In conclusion, a laser peel is a highly effective treatment for addressing a variety of skin concerns, including deep wrinkles, acne scars, sun-damaged skin, and uneven skin tone. By removing the outer layers of the skin and heating the underlying layers, a laser peel stimulates collagen production and reveals healthier, more youthful skin. Consult with a dermatologist or medical professional to determine the best type of laser peel for your skin concerns and achieve the desired results.


Fraxel Laser Treatment: Non-ablative fraxel laser treatments uses FDA-approved fractional laser technology to rejuvenate skin. This type of laser works best on mild to moderate acne scars and fine wrinkles.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Laser Treatment: Ablative CO2 laser treatments uses pixelated carbon dioxide lasers to treat more extreme skin issues such as deep wrinkles and severe acne scars. This type of laser is generally not good for treating skin redness.

Erbium Laser Treatment: The ablative erbium laser is a milder and less intrusive laser treatment than the CO2 Laser. The laser penetrates the epidermis (the outer skin layer) and also stimulates the production of collagen. It is often used to reduce wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots.

What Is a Chemical Peel?

A chemical peel is a facial treatment that works to improve skin’s overall appearance and target issues like wrinkles, acne, scarring, and uneven skin tone. It essentially peels away the top layers of the skin, so it can grow back smoother than before. If you’re worried that a chemical peel may be too harsh on your skin, consider that it comes in different levels—mild, medium, and deep—so you can tailor your peel to your skin type. 


VI Peel®: The VI Peel® is a gentle, relatively painless peel that is effective on all skin types and skin tones. Made from a blend of trichloroacetic acid, Retin-A, salicylic acid, phenol, and vitamin C, it is often used to treat hyperpigmentation and reverse sun damage.

Lactic Peel: A superficial lactic peel is derived from milk and works best on dry and sensitive skin. It helps balance skin pH and gently exfoliates by dissolving dead skin cells.

Glycolic Peel: A superficial- to medium-depth glycolic peel is made out of glycolic acid that promotes the production of new collagen and elastin by targeting the skin’s outer layer. It is often used to treat acne/acne scars and tighten pores.

TCA peel: A medium-depth TCA peel uses trichloroacetic acid and is more aggressive than the glycolic peel. It is often used to correct skin pigment issues and soften wrinkles.

Phenol Peel: A deep phenol peel powerfully penetrates the skin to treat severe wrinkle and discoloration issues. It often requires a lengthy recovery time and may feel uncomfortable compared to milder peels.

Chemical Peel Vs Laser For Wrinkles

Deep chemical peel versus laser


Laser Treatment

If you are looking for a treatment that targets deep skin issues, a laser treatment might be the best option. “For wrinkles, stubborn pigment, and vascular issues [veins], we need to get deeper into the skin with lasers.” It’s also better for collagen remodeling and superior in terms of precision, too. For example, when using a laser to target acne scars or a few brown spots, it’s possible to focus on them individually. “It also delivers faster results than peels, and there are color-blind models that can safely treat darker skin.”

Chemical Peels

Peels are great for superficial irregularities, and all skin types can benefit from mild to medium-strength peels. However, Mattioli urges that the stronger ones should be used with caution on darker complexions, which tend to be more prone to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Another pro for peels is that they tend to be more wallet-friendly at $150 to $500 a pop. There are also great at-home options from brands like Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare and Peter Thomas Roth. “I recommend Dermalogica Rapid Reveal Peel to my clients,” notes Mattioli. “It’s easy, affordable, and gives instant gratification.”


Laser Treatment

A con to laser treatments is that they aren’t as gentle on your wallet as peels are. You can expect your treatment to run anywhere between $300 and $3,000 per session.

Chemical Peels

Which brings us to downtime. In terms of recovery, it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation. “In-office peel options are endless. Some will require no downtime at all. You might experience a little redness and flaking, but that’s it,” says Mattioli. “There are hundreds of different lasers. Many offer mild resurfacing with little or no recovery period, while others (namely ablative) can leave you looking pink and swollen for up to a week.”

But again, this varies depending on the specific procedure. Aftercare, however, does not. Mattioli advises patients to avoid scrubs, cleansing brushes, washcloths, retinoids, topical acne medication, and alpha/beta hydroxy acids so as not to interfere with the healing process for about a week. In terms of topicals, stick to a gentle cleanser with antibacterial support, soothing moisturizer, hydrating serum, and broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen. Following treatment, it’s also best to skip strenuous exercise and heavy sweating for 72 hours.

Which Is Better: Chemical Peel or Laser Resurfacing?

When it comes to these two treatments, it’s not a question of which is better, but rather which is right for your needs. Both share essentially the same goals: to erase skin imperfections and improve your overall appearance. They do this by removing the top layer of skin, where concerns like rough texture, fine lines, and discoloration remain visible. This does not mean, however, the treatments are interchangeable.

Nor does it mean they don’t both offer a host of advantages, because they do. So, how can you possibly know which is the better option for you? The answer depends on how quickly you want to see results and the complexion woes you want to be erased. Peels, for instance, are beneficial for superficial irregularities like lines around the mouth and under the eyes, mild scars, and acne.

Conditions to Treat

For deeper concerns, such as pigmentation and wrinkles, lasers perform better. They’re also more ideal for remodeling collagen, which happens as a result of heat energy. High temperatures cause collagen degradation in a way that prompts new synthesis. In turn, as collagen production increases, wrinkles disappear and skin tightens. Clinical studies confirm that laser can result in up to 40 percent tighter skin.

Laser is also superior in terms of precision. To illustrate, using a laser to treat acne scars or brown spots allows for very targeted treatment. We can focus on these concerns in way that doesn’t damage surrounding tissues or surface skin. Peels, on the other hand, provide for broader therapy because the entire face is treated at once. They can thus rejuvenate your entire appearance.

Timeline of Results

Laser generally delivers faster results than peels, with results showing in just three to five days. This is especially true when patients choose laser resurfacing to fade acne scars. Then, in the coming days, the complexion becomes visibly smoother; scars fade completely after a month or so – in the days following a second treatment – and as collagen levels ramp up, skin becomes plumper, tone evens out, and wrinkles disappear.

The immediate effects of chemical peels are more dependent upon the peel you have rather than subsequent treatments. A superficial peel will improve skin radiance almost immediately with additional improvements showing in two to three weeks. A medium peel, which penetrates more deeply, can take two to four months to shrink wrinkles, fade scars, and stop breakouts. Most patients prefer gradual improvements rather than rapid and drastic changes.

The Skin Types They Benefit

It’s important to note that not all skin is suitable for laser treatment. Fairer skin tones previously responded more favorably because they weren’t susceptible to discoloration or damage. While new developments in laser technology have largely fixed these issues, patients with darker complexions are still warned to approach laser treatments with caution. Those with sensitive skin or that which easily scars should also consider alternative options.

Chemical peels generally provide greater versatility, especially for patients who aren’t considered strong candidates for laser. Ingredients can be customized to address specific concerns and needs, meaning they can be tailored even for those with sensitive skin. Mild ingredients, like glycolic acid peels, can be universally administered and help all skin tones look smoother and brighter. The key is in following the recommended series of treatments.

Frequency of Treatment

That brings us to our next point: the number of sessions required with both treatments. Laser resurfacing is usually completed in a series of four (or more) sessions each delivered about a month apart to give the skin time to properly heal. Each subsequent session builds upon the results of the last, so it’s important to follow the treatment plan exactly as we develop it for you.

The frequency of chemical peels is a little different and depends on the concern being addressed. A patient hoping to cure acne, for instance, may need a total of six peels with one delivered every two weeks; once the desired results are achieved, treatment frequency may be reduced to once monthly or even every six weeks. A patient with sensitive skin, on the other hand, may need treatment just once every eight weeks. Frequency thus depends on the:

  • Patient’s skin type
  • Treatment goals
  • Peel ingredients

Duration of Results

Peels and laser treatments each deliver results that last for different periods of time; this, too, factors into treatment frequency. The effects of laser might last three to five years before additional sessions are necessary. Peels, however, work on much shorter time spans. A superficial peel will deliver results for one to two months, while you can expect a medium peel to last between four and six months. A deep peel is likely to last 10 years.

Each peel – light, medium, and deep – penetrates to a different skin level. Superficial peels only remove the skin’s top layer, whereas a medium peel sinks to the skin’s middle layer and also removes it. Deep peels, as you likely guessed, sink into the skin’s deepest layers to provide total rejuvenation. It is recommended that patients only have one of these in their lifetimes because of the transformative way they affect the skin.

How They Work

In terms of operation, these two treatments are at distinctly opposite ends of the spectrum. Chemical peels employ acidic ingredients, such as citric acid, to change the skin’s pH from a normal base of around 5.5 to 3.8. This loosens the cells that bind dead to healthy skin, and once those bonds are no longer intact, dead cells can basically be lifted from the face. Hence, peels remove the skin’s top layer(s) to expose new and fresh cells lying underneath.

Chemical peels made a strong showing in the 1990s but faded from the spotlight because they hurt and made the skin raw. Techniques and formulations have since changed dramatically, meaning peels are now safer than ever.

Which Treatment Is Best for My Skin?

Long story short: It all depends on your skin type and concerns. “It can be difficult to determine the best course of action, so it is always important to consult with a board certified dermatologist to discuss your concerns and treatment options,” Dr. Shah advises.

If you have a darker skin tone, Dr. Shah warns that not all chemical peels and laser treatments are suitable for darker skin tones. Unsure of your situation? When in doubt, always consult a dermatologist.

For hyperpigmentation, Dr. Shah recommends a chemical peel. For textural changes, such as atrophic or indented scars, Dr. Shah finds laser skin treatments more beneficial. “However, a TCA chemical peel can also improve these acne scars,” she explains. “Often, combination approaches are needed, combining laser, peels, subcision, and/or fillers.”

What Should I Expect When Getting a Chemical Peel/Laser Treatment For the First Time?

“With chemical peels, expect redness and peeling afterward depending on the type of peel. Not all peels produce visible peeling,” Dr. Shah says. “The post-laser skin side effects depend on the laser, but include redness, peeling, swelling, and bruising.”

If you use topical treatments, Dr. Shah notes that your doctor may advise you to stop applying them a few days prior. Depending on the peel and laser, it may be recommended that you stop retinoids, hydroxy acids, benzoyl peroxide or other harsh, drying and potentially irritating ingredients. Patients with a history of cold sores may also be prescribed antiviral drugs for prophylaxis.

Am I a Good Candidate for a Chemical Peel or a Laser Treatment?

Dr. Shah advises against chemical peels and laser treatments if you:

  • Have active infections in the areas you want treated
  • Will be under sun exposure after the treatment
  • Have a history of keloids or hypertrophic scars
  • Do not allow an appropriate amount of recovery time post-treatment
  • Have a darker skin tone (this applies to certain types of chemical peels and laser resurfacing treatments)

Chemical Peel Vs Laser Cost

Laser procedures typically cost more than chemical peels. The final tally depends on numerous variables such as the specifics of the service being rendered, the type of anesthesia chosen, the level of experience of the doctors on duty, etc

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that the cost of a chemical peel can vary from as little as $100 for a light peel to as much as $4,000 for a full face peel.

Ablative laser skin resurfacing can cost around $2,000, while non-ablative treatments are closer to $1,000.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *